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 Mikhail Prokhorov

Born:   3 May 1965

Russian tycoon


Owner of the Onexim group, No. 11 (2020) on the Forbes list (worth $ 11 billion). In 2011 he got involved in politics, in 2012 - created and headed the Civic Platform party. He took part in the presidential elections on March 4, 2012, and gained 7.98% of the vote, taking the third place.

The most part of the world got acquainted with Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov after a Courchevel scandal which sullied his reputation of an honest man. However, his story deserves to be told, as there are not so many people in Russia who achieved a great success in business on their own.

Mikhail Prokhorov was born on the 3rd of May, 1965, in Moscow. If one day somebody writes a book about him, the best title to fit the story could be “the self-made person”, since Mikhail basically hasn’t happened to make any serious career mistakes.

Some people say he was born in the right place and time to take advantage of all the economical opportunities a newly formed country threw into him. He was lucky to be raised in a family of intellectuals (his mother was the head of polymeric materials department in Moscow Chemicals Institute and father worked as a laboratory chief in the central administration office of professional education) and easily entered prestigious Moscow Financial University, especially as his honors certificate of secondary general education was supported by recommendations by All-Union Leninist Young Communist League.

Soon after Mikhail’s first steps as a student, it was clear his brilliant characteristics of a young communist perfectly matched his moral portrait, endurance and stamina. In 1989 he got a degree in international finances and made friends with Oleg Deripaska, who by chance happened to be his fellow-student. Traditionally the Soviet System assigned newly made specialists among state-controlled enterprises to put new steam into industrial development, but perestroika changed the common way of life for good. Nevertheless, it couldn’t adversely affect Prokhorov’s career, since his degree and knowledge of financial forecasting guaranteed him a promising position of a head of the management department in the International bank of economic cooperation.

The money Prokhorov officially earned that time wasn’t big, but it couldn’t upset him, because he had managed to set up production of extremely fashionable then washed-out jeans, which probably left a profit. Nobody knows what path the young tycoon could have followed, if one day he hadn’t met Vladimir Potanin, a first-time entrepreneur, who came to Prokhorov’s bank to take a credit. By that moment Mikhail changed several places of work and occupied a position of CEO of Onexim Bank.

In April 1998 Prokhorov became a member of the board of directors in Potanin’s company Interros. In 2001 he was appointed the director general of Norilsk Nickel. 

In 2007, he founded the Onexim Group, an investment company operating in the metals, technology, media and other industries.

In 2008, he proved again he was born with a silver spoon in the mouth - right before the financial meltdown broke out, he sold his stake in Norilsk Nickel to Oleg Deripaska and got away with a pocket filled with cash.

In early 2013, Prokhorov sold his 37.78 percent stake in Polyus Gold for $3.6 billion.

In subsequent years, the businessman was active: he ran for president, invested in media, tried to create an Yo-mobile, headed the biathlon union and acquired the Brooklyn Nets club. In 2016, Prokhorov began to sell assets, in February 2018 he finally left the capital of UC Rusal, and in April he sold 49% of the basketball team. Most of Prokhorov's fortune is gained from the total sale of assets.

Political career

In 2011, he made a big splash when he announced that he had agreed to lead the Right Cause party ahead of the parliamentary election. But after allegedly falling out with the Kremlin over some of the candidates he wanted to take along to the State Duma, he was ousted.

He then ran for president, and was surprisingly ranked third. After that he has announced that he will put his wealth under the trusteeship of Onexim to focus on politics. In the latest move, he said that his Civic Platform party would pay $50,000 to Russian families that adopt one of the 46 children whose pending adoption by US parents might be affected by a ban approved by the State Duma.


Mikhail is a fan of sporting life style and his passion for sport made the majority of his Norilsk Nickel colleagues take up fitness. They speak well of his addiction to several kinds of sport – football, basketball, volleyball, etc.

In 2009, he became the first foreign owner of a NBA team after he bought the New Jersey Nets.

For years the 200-cantimeter tycoon had to buy clothes in special shops for basketball players, but now all is much easier. They say there is a gym with a race-track and a punching ball on the way from his office to the study. Mikhail Prokhorov is a good singer and likes performing at his friends’ parties.

He wasn’t going to marry till he is 42 but he is still single. Probably one day he will start a family, as there must be somebody to inherit all his fortune after all. 


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